What has changed

For many of us the world has just turned up-side down, all of a sudden, from in-person to remote. Our lives are going to be more physically constrained and more virtual than they were. Nobody knows how long the current conditions will persist, but what previous recessions have taught us is that conditions do improve again – even if it is different from what we consider “normal” today.

What hasn’t changed

What hasn’t changed and what we do not see changing, is the need to keep meeting and exceeding our business objectives. As business leaders, we must confront, sooner than many of us were prepared to, the challenge of creating vibrant, growing organisations in a period of fundamental, unprecedented change. Just how, we don’t really know yet, but what we do know is that managers at all levels will still be expected to produce results ( leadership) – their shareholders and other stakeholders will still hold them accountable for setting effective direction for the business (strategic planning) and for efficient implementation (organisation) of the organisation’s strategy in the most risk- controlled manner (read monitor, control and cost effectiveness). As a successful leader you’re asking yourself what you can do to minimize disruption and continue enabling your people to be successful. As always it all boils down to your people and how well they work together.

What can we do

Today we, as leaders need to manage not for stability, but for disruption. So instead of just planning against established metrics, we also need to continually ask what we’re doing to explore the unknown. The ability to function effectively within a hierarchy is a crucial factor in managerial and personal success, companies need to develop a process to empower them strategically. While focusing on resilience, trust, and implementation, business leaders and management can seek to reinvent their company by adjusting business models to the new reality in which digital technology and a long approach are at the core of their organisations. Leaders will need to reconsider which costs are truly fixed versus variable versus nice to have, resulting in a stronger sense of what makes the business more resilient to shocks, more productive, and better able to deliver to customers. Just as companies should be open to new technology and new practices in the world that will emerge, so should they be willing to learn from their staff, a valuable resource, by actively listening to their ideas. Those leaders who make the most of it will be the ones who come out on top. Organisational change doesn’t happen in a vacuum and therefore the human experience of change should be taken into consideration when initiating organisational change. Managers will need a dynamic model in which managing employee experience can become a core competency, providing a pragmatic leadership framework to tap into their employees’ experience and allow them to continually evaluate their actions in terms of the organisation’s alignment to strategic intent, giving them insight into whether daily work is adequately adding value to the company’s intentions.
“You cannot implement an adaptive organisation – you can only grow one.” – Steven Parry.